Tuesday, July 3, 2012


PROGRAMME OF THE POPE'S APOSTOLIC TRIP TO LEBANON (IMAGE SOURCE RADIO VATICANA)Vatican City, 3 July 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is to make an apostolic trip to Lebanon from 14 to 16 September in order to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in the Vatican in October 2010.
The Holy Father will depart from Ciampino airport in Rome at 9.30 a.m. on Friday 14 September and land at the Rafik Hariri international airport in Beirut at 1.45 p.m. local time. Following the welcome ceremony he will travel to Harissa where he will visit the basilica of St. Paul and sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday 15 September the Pope will travel to the presidential palace at Baabda where he will pay a courtesy visit to the president of Lebanon, as well as to the prime minister and the speaker of the parliament. He will then meet with the heads of Muslim communities before going on to pronounce an address before representatives from government, State institutions, the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and the world of culture.
On the same day the Pope will have lunch at the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Bzommar with patriarchs and bishops of Lebanon, members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, and the papal entourage. At 6 p.m. he is scheduled to deliver an address to young people gathered on the square in front of the Maronite Patriarchate at Bkerke.
At 10 a.m. on Sunday 16 September the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at Beirut City Centre Waterfront and consign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. Having prayed the Angelus he will then travel by car to the apostolic nunciature at Harissa where he will have lunch with members of his entourage. At 5.15 p.m. he is due to preside at an ecumenical gathering in the Syro-Catholic Patriarchate of Charfet. From there he will travel directly to the airport of Beirut whence his return flight to Rome is due to depart at 7 p.m.

Vatican City, 3 July 2012 (VIS) - The conductor Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra are to play a concert for Benedict XVI. The event will take place on 11 July, St. Benedict's Day, at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, and the programme will feature works by Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music will be the focal point of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra's summer tour.
After its opening performance in Munich, Germany, on 10 July the orchestra will take in Versailles, France; Geneva, Switzerland; the BBC Proms in London, England, and the Salzburg Festival in Austria, among other venues. The concert scheduled for Berlin's Waldbuhne on 29 July will be one of the highlights of the "Beethoven for All" summer tour and will again be in aid of educational projects organised by the orchestra in Israel and Palestine.
"Benedict XVI has long promoted active dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims", says a communique on the event released today. "In 1999 Barenboim and Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a grouping of musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Spain. Every year they come together for summer workshops, which take their inspiration from the spirit of music and a willingness to engage with the views and experiences of the assembled musicians, each with personal ties to the troubled situation in the Middle East".

Vatican City, 3 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu of Vijayawada, India, as archbishop of Visakhapatnam (area 25,950, population 12,816,000, Catholics 250,186, priests 154, religious 581), India. He succeeds Archbishop Mariadas Kagithapu M.S.F.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Msgr. Jeffrey Marc Monforton of the clergy of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Andrew in Rochester, as bishop of Steubenville (area 15,309, population 538,000, Catholics 38,900, priests 118, permanent deacons 6, religious 100), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Detroit in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1994. He has served in pastoral care in numerous parishes, and has worked as professor and later rector of the Sacred Heart Seminary.
- Erected the new diocese of Batticaloa (area 7,269, population 1,199,966, Catholics 55,225, priests 48, religious 84) Sri Lanka, with territory taken from the diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Colombo. He appointed Bishop Joseph Ponniah, auxiliary of Trincomalee-Batticaloa, as first bishop of the new diocese.


Sunday July 1 saw an attack on the Catholic Cathedral of Garissa and another Evangelical Church. This caused the death of 17 and wounded 50 people. "We are greatly concerned by the deadly attacks on innocent Kenyans at the Africa Inland Church and the Catholic Cathedral of Garissa," said the Bishops of Kenya in a statement.


by Nguyen Hun
A group linked to the Patriotic Front targets the Catholics of Con Cuong while celebrating mass. A woman has fractures to her head and is hospitalized. The authorities pay authors of the raid up to 25 dollars as "compensation" for their "work". Protest of the faithful: violation of religious freedom and the laws of the country.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A group of thugs linked to the Vietnam Patriotic Front, instigated by local authorities, targeted the faithful gathered in a house of prayer in Con Cuong district - Nghe An province, Vinh Diocese- as they gathered to celebrate Mass Sunday. The attack against the Catholic community took place on the evening of July 1 and is just the latest in a series of incidents of persecution that have targeted Christian communities in the area since November of last year (see AsiaNews 29/12 / Young Vinh Catholic kidnapped by police on Christmas Eve). Anonymous sources interviewed by AsiaNews also reported that the so-called "local authority" gave up to 25 dollars "compensation" to the thugs who beat priests and lay people who only wanted to gather to celebrate the Eucharist.

On the evening of July 1, as every Sunday, Fr. J.B. Nguyễn Đình Thuc met with faithful in a chapel of Con Cuong, to celebrate mass. Suddenly, a group of thugs - probably close to an extremist nationalist movement - disrupted the function targeting those present. Instigated by local authorities, who pay these groups to attack Catholic communities, the mob struck with force and brutality, injuring dozens of people. One of them, Mrs. Maria Ngo Thi Thanh, suffered a skull fracture and was hospitalized in intensive care.

In recent weeks, officials of Con Cuong have patrolled the streets of the district on board a jeep, broadcasting slogans and warnings against Catholics - lay and clergy - guilty of "illegally celebrating of the Mass". Some families confirm that "local authorities do not know" or pretend not to know the "laws governing religious freedom in Vietnam." Police and security agents threaten Christians and force the faithful to promise not to participate in functions or ceremonies in the future. "They are violating the laws of Vietnam - comment members of the community - as well as basic human rights."

However, in spite of threats and persecution, which continued for a year and a half Fr. B. Nguyễn Đình Thuc celebrated Sunday Mass and rites associated with major feast days. In response, the local government has strengthened its enforcement policy "by mobilizing hundreds of people including police, undercover agents and groups of thugs" who throw stones at the faithful, and make arrests. A source, anonymous for security reasons, tells AsiaNews that the perpetrators of the violence "are rewarded with 25 dollars each" for their actions against peaceful believers.

In response to yet another attack, the parishioners have protested outside the offices of the district Con Cuong People's Committee, asking the local party secretary to put an end to violations and respect the principle of freedom of religious profession. But leaders continue to ignore these requests and allocate police to harass the faithful. In recent weeks, the traffic control officers have closed access to the churches, making it increasingly difficult to participate in mass and services. The faithful expect a strong and resolute stance of the Bishop of Vinh, in defense of religious freedom.



German bishop appointed to head CDF | Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pontifical Biblical Commission, nternational Theological Commission, Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,

Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller
Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany has been appointed by Pope Benedict as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Bishop Muller, whom the Pope elevated to archbishop, will also head the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which oversees Catholics who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.
He will succeed Cardinal William Levada, who submitted his resignation upon reaching the age of 75.
Archbishop Muller was born in Mainz-Finthen in 1947. He was ordained a priest in 1978 and served as a chaplain and as a religion education teacher in secondary schools, according to the Diocese of Regensburg.

He earned his doctorate in 1977 on the subject of the Church, Sacraments and the thought of German Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Source: VIS


Agenzia Fides REPORT - There are now more than 3,000 young people enrolled in the 34th National Catholic Youth Day in Uruguay, to be held in Maldonado on 1 and 2 September. According to information sent to Fides Agency from the National Commission of Youth Pastoral of the Episcopal Conference of Uruguay, this important event will have the aim to renew the faith of young Catholics and to share the enthusiasm of the proclamation and commitment towards others. To promote this meeting, the Diocese of Maldonado has opened a website where one can listen to the anthem of the meeting and find all the useful information, like the poster (which can also be downloaded as a file and as a background graphic), the words, the music and the sound of the hymn of the great festival of young Catholics in Uruguay. A page has the details of how to get to the place where the meeting will be held. One section is reserved for priests who wish to participate, where in addition to the enrollment they can also choose the type of pastoral collaboration they intend to offer. The website also has a version available for new phones and other mobile devices. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 02/07/2012)
Link The 34th National Youth Day website


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
1 Jul 2012

Archbishop Mark Coleridge before the ceremony
in Rome
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane and Perth's Archbishop Tim Costelloe were among 44 archbishops who had a woollen band placed around their shoulders when they knelt before him Pope Benedict XV1 at St Peter's Basilica for the pallium ceremony before the Solemnity Mass of SS. Peter and Paul.
Pope Benedict XV1 told each one of the archbishops the ceremony was a reminder of their ties to heaven and earth and also of their loyalty to Christ and the successor of Peter.
Presented every year to new archbishops or those who have been assigned to a new archdiocese, the pallium ceremony is attended by many archdiocesan representatives and pilgrims from around the world. Before celebrating Mass, Pope Benedict gave the archbishops from 23 countries the woollen palliums as a sign of their sharing with him authority over the faithful in their archdioceses. This represented a significant change in the ceremony which was to avoid interrupting the flow of the Mass or seeming to suggest that the bestowal of the pallium has the status of a sacrament.

Archbishops in St Peter's Basilica for the ceremony
and the Mass of SS. Peter and Paul
The pallium is a band of fabric made of white lamb's wool, that circles the neck and hangs down in the front and back. On the Feast of St Agnes in February each year, two lambs are blessed by the Pope, and the wool from these lambs are made by a group of nuns into the pallium.
Present also for the ceremony and Mass was the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell and Auxiliary Bishop Peter A.Comensoli.
Archbishop Coleridge also brought 30 pilgrims from his archdiocese and he said he hoped the ceremony would be a boost to re-evangelising Australia.

The archbishop noted that the pallium "is a call not just to me as the archbishop who wears it but it is a call to whole Church to be more apostolic and you can only become more apostolic by entering into deeper communion with the See of Peter."

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia:
" Pope Benedict actually confirmed me, kin faith and also
in my work as archbishop, when he placed the pallium
on my shoulders today.
it means a lot in this difficult moment in our local church."
"If you separate yourself from the See of Peter then it becomes impossible to fulfill the apostolic task entrusted to the Church by Jesus."
During the homily the Pope said to the archbishops;" You have been constituted in and for the great mystery of communion that is the church, the spiritual edifice built upon Christ as the cornerstone, while in its earthly and historical dimension, it is built on the rock of St Peter."


John 20: 24 - 29
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."


St. Thomas
Feast: July 3

Feast Day: July 3
Died: 72 in India
Patron of: against doubt, architects, blind people, builders, East Indies, geometricians, India, masons, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, surveyors, theologians
Little is recorded of St.Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St.John he plays a distinctive part. First, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, "Thomas" who is called Didymus [the twin], said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Again it was St. Thomas who during the discourse before the Last Supper raised an objection:" Thomas saith to him : Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). But more especially St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles announced Christ's Resurrection to him: " Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29).
This exhausts all our certain knowledge regarding the Apostle but his name is the starting point of a considerable apocryphal literature, and there are also certain historical data which suggest that some of this apocryphal material may contains germs of truth. The principal document concerning him is the "Acta Thomae", preserved to us with some variations both in Greek and in Syriac, and bearing unmistakeable signs of its Gnostic origin. It may indeed be the work of Bardesanes himself. The story in many of its particulars is utterly extravagant, but it is the early date, being assigned by Harnack (Chronologie, ii, 172) to the beginning of the third century, before A. D. 220. If the place of its origin is really Edessa, as Harnack and others for sound reasons supposed (ibid., p. 176), this would lend considerable probability to the statement, explicitly made in "Acta" (Bonnet, cap. 170, p.286), that the relics of Apostle Thomas, which we know to have been venerated at Edessa, had really come from the East. The extravagance of the legend may be judged from the fact that in more than one place (cap. 31, p. 148) it represents Thomas (Judas Thomas, as he is called here and elsewhere in Syriac tradition) as the twin brother of Jesus. The Thomas in Syriac is equivalant to XXXXX in Greek, and means twin. Rendel Harris who exaggerates very much the cult of the Dioscuri, wishes to regards this as a transformation of a pagan worship of Edessa but the point is at best problematical. The story itself runs briefly as follows: At the division of the Apostles, India fell to the lot of Thomas, but he declared his inability to go, whereupon his Master Jesus appeared in a supernatural way to Abban, the envoy of Gundafor, an Indian king, and sold Thomas to him to be his slave and serve Gundafor as a carpender. Then Abban and Thomas sailed away until they came to Andrapolis, where they landed and attended the marriage feast of the ruler's daughter. Strange occurences followed and Christ under the appearence of Thomas exhorted the bride to remain a Virgin. Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spend the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him; but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted. Going about the country to preach, Thomas met with strange adventures from dragons and wild asses. Then he came to the city of King Misdai (Syriac Mazdai), where he converted Tertia the wife of Misdai and Vazan his son. After this he was condemed to death, led out of city to a hill, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers. He was buried in the tomb of the ancient kings but his remains were afterwards removed to the West.
Now it is certainly a remarkable fact that about the year A.D. 46 a king was reigning over that part of Asia south of Himalayas now represented by Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, and Sind, who bore the name Gondophernes or Guduphara. This we know both from the discovery of coins, some of the Parthian type with Greek legends, others of the Indian types with the legends in an Indian dialect in Kharoshthi characters. Despite sundry minor variations the identity of the name with the Gundafor of the "Acta Thomae" is unmistakable and is hardly disputed. Further we have the evidence of the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, which is dated and which the best specialists accept as establishing the King Gunduphara probably began to reign about A.D. 20 and was still reigning in 46. Again there are excellent reasons for believing that Misdai or Mazdai may well be transformation of a Hindu name made on the Iranian soil. In this case it will probably represent a certain King Vasudeva of Mathura, a successor of Kanishka. No doubt it can be urged that the Gnostic romancer who wrote the "Acta Thomae" may have adopted a few historical Indian names to lend verisimilitude to his fabrication, but as Mr. Fleet urges in his severely critical paper "the names put forward here in connection with St.Thomas are distinctly not such as have lived in Indian story and tradition" (Joul. of R. Asiatic Soc.,1905, p.235).
On the other hand, though the tradition that St. Thomas preached in "India" was widely spread in both East and West and is to be found in such writers as Ephraem Syrus, Ambrose, Paulinus, Jerome, and, later Gregory of Tours and others, still it is difficult to discover any adequate support for the long-accepted belief that St. Thomas pushed his missionary journeys as far south as Mylapore, not far from Madras, and there suffered martyrdom. In that region is still to be found a granite bas-relief cross with a Pahlavi (ancient Persian) inscription dating from the seventh century, and the tradition that it was here that St. Thomas laid down his life is locally very strong. Certain it is also that on the Malabar or west coast of southern India a body of Christians still exists using a form of Syriac for its liturgical language. Whether this Church dates from the time of St. Thomas the Apostle (there was a Syro-Chaldean bishop John "from India and Persia" who assisted at the Council of Nicea in 325) or whether the Gospel was first preached there in 345 owing to the Persian persecution under Shapur (or Sapor), or whether the Syrian missionaries who accompanied a certain Thomas Cana penetrated to the Malabar coast about the year 745 seems difficult to determine. We know only that in the sixth century Cosmas Indicopleustes speaks of the existence of Christians at Male (?Malabar) under a bishop who had been consecrated in Persia. King Alfred the Great is stated in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" to have sent an expedition to establish relations with these Christians of the Far East. On the other hand the reputed relics of St. Thomas were certainly at Edessa in the fourth century, and there they remained until they were translated to Chios in 1258 and towards to Ortona. The improbable suggestion that St. Thomas preached in America (American Eccles. Rev., 1899, pp.1-18) is based upon a misunderstanding of the text of the Acts of Apostles (i, 8; cf. Berchet "Fonte italiane per la storia della scoperta del Nuovo Mondo", II, 236, and I, 44).
Besides the "Acta Thomae" of which a different and notably shorter redaction exists in Ethiopic and Latin, we have an abbreviated form of a so-called "Gospel of Thomas" originally Gnostic, as we know it now merely a fantastical history of the childhood of Jesus, without any notably heretical colouring. There is also a "Revelatio Thomae", condemned as apocryphal in the Degree of Pope Gelasius, which has recently been recovered from various sources in a fragmentary condition


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